Thursday, August 12, 2004

Mighty In Word And Deed

As a child I was terrible at sports. I was uncoordinated. My ego was somewhat fragil. I just could not seem to do the right thing on the baseball field. I did not know it at the time but while I was right handed, I was also left eye dominate. This can throw off attempts at throwing and catching balls. Being out of shape did not help all those problems.

As an adult, I joined the military, I never felt that I was athletic but all the exercise which is a part of the job did help. I never reached a maximum score on my physical fitness test, but I wanted to. In the military, being in shape is a part of the authority that a person may or may not have. It is one element in a complex set of variables which determine whether a person's leadership is taken seriously. I think this authority and leadership being connected in some cases to athletic ability is why evangelicals often highlight the testimonies of athletes.

I'm the sort of person who wants to contribute, I want to be a leader. In other words, I want to be the hero. But lacking athletic ability, certain people, not all, don't take me seriously.

I found it somewhat ironic that two of my regular favorite places on the web both addressed the same issue, heros. Check out the Jollyblogger's article which talks about Heros. The other article on heros is in PCA zine, The Story That Won't Go Away by Alex Wainer.

As the people of God we do need to ensure that we speak the word of God. God does raise up people for certain hours. To discuss these people in a way that glosses over their faults and sin is to take up the world's model for leadership. In a sense, we create a hero counter-culture rather than point to God's grace in our lives. Heros in the best sense point to Christ, the child who would come from woman and deleiver us. Another good thing about heros is that they point to the providence of God in raising up men and women for a certain hour. Heros also point to the empowering work of the Holy Spirit. At their worst, heros speak of human strength. Heros are merely entertainment. Just another game. (My Jim Elliot can whip your secular culture hero.)

Personally, my life-long struggle with athletic inability has brought me grace. No other area in my life has brought my limitations to the forefront so that I was forced to deal with them. While I'm limited in all of my capacities, athletic limitations have been the ones that were there first and in some senses, I struggle with everyday, even though I don't want to.
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